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Does our society love its women?

Two men holding public office are alleged to have perpetrated abomi­nable acts of violence against women in the past few weeks. These incidents are symptomatic of a deep sickness that pervades Trinbagonian society at all levels. 

A deep lack of love for our women and girls is manifested time and again, and little is being done to change it.

In 2012, there were 2,517 female victims of violent crimes in Trinidad and Tobago (rape, assault, etc). For the 2009/2010 law term, 12,106 new domestic violence applications were filed in the magistrate’s courts. These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg, due to the fact that most of these crimes are not reported.

As a society, we must work toge­ther to combat this problem and mitigate its effects. This requires both the Government and NGOs (non-governmental organisations) to implement strategies to combat this violence.

UNIFEM’s (United Nations Devel­opment Fund for Women) “National Accountability Framework to End Violence against Women” recommends a holistic approach, combi­ning Government services, such as public health and law enforcement, with educational institutions and other actors such as trade unions and NGOs.

In effect, everyone has a part to play in ending violence against wom­en. We must continue to develop a no-tolerance policy towards this problem. Violence against women must not only be condemned but punished at every opportunity. I urge everyone reading this to become your sister’s keeper; if you know of a woman who is abused, do not turn a blind eye but rather offer a helping hand.

Trinidad and Tobago, since 1996, has ratified the Inter-American Con­vention on the Prevention, Punish­ment and Eradication of Violence Against Women. Why is it that 18 years later, we are still struggling with this problem?

Article 8 (b) of the convention provides for the undertaking of programmes to modify the social and 

cultural patterns of conduct to counteract prejudices which legitimise violence against women. 

In truth, the very culture of Tri­nidad and Tobago needs to change. It seems to me that we have a full-blown culture of violence that must be transformed into a culture of peace and loving kindness.

Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies, and people ought to love their neighbours as themselves. Do we truly love our women as a society? Then we must protect them. 

Jonathan Bhagan

via e-mail

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